France is taking a huge first step in the attempt to end sexual harassment. The country outlawed catcalling, with offenders facing hefty fines.
The legislation passed on Wednesday, Aug. 1, days after “a man attacked a young woman, Marie Laguerre, when she responded to lewd noises he made at her outside a Paris cafe”. The story blew up in France and spurred public outrage, according to Reuters.
“Harassment in the street has previously not been punished. From now on, it will be,” Marlene Schiappa, gender equality minister and architect of the new legislation, said. Harassers on the street now can and will be fined 750 euros ($870) on the spot. Schiappa added that the goal of the law is to “forbid insulting, intimidating, threatening, and following women in public spaces.”
The legislation not only punishes catcallers, but also provides underage rape victims an extra 10 years to file a complaint. The deadline now extends to 30 years after the victim turns 18.
What an amazing way to set an example for the rest of the world. Hopefully this sparks mass change.